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Full text of "Taylor v. Ontario Hydro, Board of Inquiry, June 1981 BOI 137"

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Ministry of labour 

JUN 2 9 jgg, 


R.S.O. 1970, c. 313, as amended 

the Complaint made by Mr. Conrad Taylor, 

of Toronto, Ontario, alleging discrimination 

in refusal to employ by Ontario Hydro. 

Steven J. McCormack Counsel for +he Ontario 
Human Rights Commission and Mr. Conrad Taylor. 

Mr. Bruce H. Stewart, Q.C., Counsel for 
Ontario Hydro. 

Peter A, Camming, a Board of Inquiry in the 
above matter, appointed June ^, 1980, by the 
Minister of Labour, the Honourable Robert Elgie 
to hear and decide the CompiainT. 


I ntroduct i on 

The Complainant, Conrad Taylor, of Toronto, Is 35 years of age. 
Is black, and was born and educated In Trinidad and Tobago. He has been 
a Canadian citizen since 1975, and is married with one child. In his 
Complaint ( Exh I b 1 1 #'5) , Mr. Taylor alleges a breach by the Respondent, 
Ontario Hydro, of s. 4(1) (b) of the Ontario Human Rights Code 
(hereinafter called the " Code " ) which reads: 

4.-(l) No person shall, 

(b) dismiss or refuse to employ or to continue to 
emp I oy any person ; 

because of race, co I our ancestry , or place of 
origin of such person.... 

Hydro provides electricity for Ontario, and in doing so operates 
nuclear power generating stations in Ontario at Pickering, Douglas Point, and 
Bruce on Lake Huron. 

The Evidence as It relates to the Factural Situation of the Complaint 

Mr. Taylor apprenticed with British Petroleum in Trinidad as 
an engine fitter ^which more generally can be referred to as a mechanical 
trade) for five years, received his certificate ( Exh i b 1 1 No . 4) and then 
worked for two years as a tradesman. 

In 1957, he came to Toronto on a student visa and completed a 
year long course in mechanical drafting ( Exh i b i t No . 5). He then studied 
auto mechanics and was certified as a motor vehicle repai rer ( Exh I b I t No. 6), 
and then worked for three years at various stores of Canadian Tire repairing 



c « 


cars, and for some seven months at Canadian National Railways checking, 
and doing minor repairs to locomotive engines. Mr. Taylor then worked 
with a Toronto company, repairing engines and the like. After a visit 
to Trinidad for 3 to 4 months in 1975, he returned to Toronto and completed 
high school courses in maths, physics and chemistry ( Exhibits Nos. 5, 7, 8 
and 9) and worked with another local company, maintaining vehicles and 
washers and dryers. In 1976, he applied for admission to the mechanical 
engineering program at Lakehead University and was accepted. 

However, l^r. Taylor also applied to Ontario Hydro for the position 
of industrial mechanic (the specific position is 'shift mechanical 
maintenance i mprover ' -see Exhibit No. 22) with a Hydro nuclear power 
generating station in June, 1976, (the application is Exh i b i t No . 13) 
in response to an advert i sem.ent ( Exhibit No. II). There was much evidence 
about an undated letter ( Exhibit No. 12) which Mr. Taylor thought he 
wrote and sent to Ontario Hydro In June before attending at Hydro's 
offices and completing the application. There was no question that he 
did write an undated letter of application in August (date-stamped 
"August 12" - Exh i b i t No. 15 - by Hydro on receipt). Hydro had no 
record of the so-called June letter and the copy put In evidence 
( Exhibit No. 12) was not date-stamped. The two letters were virtually 
identical in wording. In my view, Mr. Taylor was honestly confused 
about these letters, given the passage of time since these 
events, and I have no doubt In finding that there was in fact only one 
letter sent to Ontario Hydro, being the one received August 12, 1976 
( Exh I b I t No. 15). It is also to be noted that Mr. Taylor's complaint 
signed In 1976 does not refer to any letter. The letter entered In 

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evidence as Exh i b i t No . 12 was undoubtedly just a first draft of what 
became Exh i b i t No. 15. 

I find, considering all the evidence, that Mr. Taylor completed 
an application form (Exh i b i t No. 13) with Ontario Hydro in June, 1976, 
did not hear further, wrote his letter ( Exh i b i t No. 15) received by 
Hydro August 12, and Hydro then sent a telex to Mr. Taylor requesting 
him to come in for an interview. 

There was also considerable testimony as to why and how Mr. 
Taylor's application ( Exh i b i t No. 13) when received by Hydro in June 
was not put in the aporopriate file. It went into file #18, apparently, 
rather than file #32 (the proper one for an applicant as an industrial 
mechanic at a nuclear power station). However, it seems Mr. Taylor did 
not indicate any file number cn his application. Therefore, it was 
easily, and unintentionally misdirected. Moreover, when Hydro later 
received Mr. Taylor's letter ( Exhibit No. 15), he was Invited in for 
an interview on the basis of his letter, and presumably when he appeared 
at Hydro's offices for the interview September 10, 1976, he would have been asked 
by the receptionist to complete an application, he would have said he had already 
filed one, and the original application was then located in file #18 
by the receptionist through the 'name' card Index of Hydro. 

When Mr. Taylor's I etter ( Exhibit No. 15) came into the Hydro 
office, a clerk would have marked It for the #32 applications file (being 
the "nuclear" industrial mechanic" file), and a decision was made by 
Mr. David Grice or Mr. Neil Donnelly, Hydro's Interviewing officers, 
on the basis of the 1 etter , that Mr. Taylor should be Interviewed. 
Mr. Grice testified that he was certain he had never seen the Taylor 
app I I cation (Exhibit No. 13) until the actual interview. 




Mr. Grice has an impressive background in his trade as a 
marine engineer, and an obvious broad knowledge of the multitude of 
mechanical (millwright, welder, machinist, pipefitter, engine fitter, etc 
trades pertinent to Hydro's needs at nuclear power generating stations. 
He imigrated to Canada, from the United Kingdom, in 1968 to become a shift 
mechanical maintenance tradesman with Hydro, the position Mr. Taylor 
was seeking in 1976. Mr. Grice completed Hydro's nuclear training 
program and later taught some of the courses, becoming a mechanical 
instructor, and ultimately a selection officer in 1976. Mr. Grice 
is obviously very competent in his knowledge of the various m.echan i ca I 
trades, and as a selection officer for Hydro. 

Mr. Grice processes some 500 trainees in the shift mechanical 
maintainer "'improvers" and '"learners" categories oer year, with four 
classes per year. A trainee comoletes a nine month orogram at a cost 
to Hydro of about $25,000 per trainee. 

Mr. Taylor, if he had been accepted, would have started in 
the January, 1977 shift mechanical maintainer "improver" class. 
Mr. Grice testified that Hydro would have received some 500 to 600 
applications, of which some 135 were interviewed, and 24 were hired 
for this January, 1977 class. 

Mr. Grice was looking for 
apprenticeship training in certain 
a nuclear power station industrial 
journeyman mechanical maintainer. 

candidates with a recogn I zed comp I eted 
trades. At the end of four years, 
mechanic trainee becomes a 

Mr. Taylor was interviewed by Mr. Grice and Mr. Donnelly at 
Hydro's offices September 10, 1976. Mr. Grice tested Mr. Taylor on his 
l<nowledge and ability from the standpoint of his mechanical aptitude and 
suitability for the trade. He was given math problems, tested on his 
familiarity with tools, and the like. 

Mr. Grice and Mr. Donnelly each interview (in succession, 
independent of each other), a candidate for 35 to 45 minutes and then 
compare notes briefly. They decide at that point as to whether or not 
a candidate will then proceed to complete a comprehensive written aptitude 
test. About one-half of the interviewed applicants are rejected at 
this point, and are not given the aptitude test. Mr. Taylor did 
receive the aptitude test. 

A background in auto mechanics work is not related to Hydro's 
requirements, and Mr. Taylor's most recent work experience was mainly in 
auto mechanics. At the interview, Mr. Grice was skeprical of Mr. Taylor's 
skills as an engine filler because Mr. Taylor had been away from the 
trade for some time, and his presentation at the interview evidenced 
this. Moreover, Mr. Grice gave Mr. Taylor low marks in terms of his 
skills as an auto mechanic ( E:<h i b i t No . 21). 

Mr. Grice testified that he found Mr. Taylor to be weak on 
mechanical procedures, and Mr. Grice was not favourably impressed as 
to how Mr. Taylor used the tools he was given during the interview. 
Mr. Grice's overall conclusion was that Mr. Taylor was very rusty, 
but he had made no final decision, and thought Mr. Taylor should proceed 
to take the written aptitude test. 



At the interview, Mr. Grice did give Mr. Taylor a high rating 
(and generally higher than other, successful, applicants received) in 
his "general technical knov/ledge", (interview summation sheet - Exh i b i t 
No. 21), which indicates Mr. Grice held no bias. 

Mr. Taylor's performance on the written aptitude test ( Exhibit 1122) 
confirmed Mr. Grice's conclusions in the previous interview. Mr. Taylor 
did very well in the category of numerical ability, but very poorly 
in the mechanical comprehension, as Mr. Grice had suspected from the 
interview. However, Mr. Grice was surprised that Mr. Taylor also did 
very poorly in the physical -science comprehension category. The test 
(see also Exh i b i t Nos . 46, 47, and 48) is very comprehensive and objective. 

Mr. Taylor's overall score of 12.52 on the aptitude test was 
acceptable, but not high. Of the 24 successful candidates, only two had 
lower scores, and several unsuccessful candidates had higher scores. 

Mr. Donnelly's position was that of staffing officer with Manpower 
Resources and Development, Ontario Hydro. His role was to conduct a 
non-technical interview, to assess educational background and the 
general personal attributes of a candidate and evaluate such matters as 
whether the applicant was likely to be superv i sab 1 e , how easily he would 
get along with fellow workers, as to whether he was stable, had initiative 
and drive, and his maturity. 

Mr. Donnelly felt that Mr. Taylor had some difficulty and 
was vague in responding to some of his questions. Mr. Donnelly did 
not get meaningful answers about Mr. Taylor's career changes, and was left 
with uncertainty and concerns about Mr. Taylor's reliability, and 




motivation, given his short employment periods, and what he had been 
doing at different points of time. He felt there would be no difficulty 
in Mr. Taylor getting along with fellow workers or being supervised. 

At the conclusion of a day of interviewing, Mr. Grlce and Mr. 
Donnelly would meet and decide upon candidates. On September 10, 1976, 
Mr. Donnelly was against offering a position to Mr. Taylor but Mr. 
Grice was not yet prepared to make a decision, and chose to put Mr. 
Taylor's candidacy on "hold", until he had assessed more candidates. Mr. 
Grice considered Mr. Taylor to be a borderline candidate and was waiting 
to see the further candidates who might apply. While a decision in 
resoect of Mr. Taylor's candidacy was being held in abeyance, Mr. 
Donnelly arranged for a security clearance investigation of Mr. Taylor to 
be undertaken (necessary for' anyone working at a nuclear power generating 
station) and medical forms to be sent out to him. 

It was not unusual for these steps to be taken before a 
decision was made to hire or reject an applicant. 

Mr. Gr ice's ultimate conclusion was that Mr. Taylor could 
be trained, but was not acceptable at the "improver" level. He 
testified he would have offered him a position at the "learner" level, 
and perhaps he should have, although he did not think to do so because 
he was looking for "improvers" at that point, and someone such as 
Mr, Taylor, wno had comoleted his apprenticeship, would certainly not 
normally want to be considered as a "learner". (M'-. Taylor did not suggest 
In his Complaint or in his testimony that he thought at any time he 
would like to have been considered as a "learner" if he was unsuccessful in 
obtaining the position he implicitly applied for, that of "improver".) 



There was a great deal of evidence about other applicants 
( Exhibit Nos. 25 through 43). Having reviewed all the evidence with 
respect to these applicants carefully, and considering their 
treatment in comparison to Mr. Taylor, I .am unable to find any suggestion 
of discrimination, or unfairness in any way, toward Mr. Taylor. 

It would seem that in each of the first three classes in 1976, 
there were non-white persons who were accepted as improvers ( Exh i b i t No . 50) 
although it also seems none of these non-whites were blacks. As well, 
in 1977, of 61 improvers hired, seven were non-white. 

It Is to be noted that both Mr. Donnelly and Mr. Grice 
participated in the process of hiring non-whites as nuclear industrial 
mechanics In early 1976. Mr. Grice did give Mr. Taylor high marks 
in some aspects of his written subjective assessment, and if he 
were biased he could easily have given him low marks without detection. 
Mr. Grice's personal assessments of Mr. Taylor's skills and work experience 
and Mr. Donnelly's inconsistent employment record are consistent with 
the application form and the written aptitude test. Mr. Taylor was 
approved for the written aptitude test, and was not rejected immediately 
thereafter, but rather put on "hold". 

Mr, Tavlor's application was the only one on "hold" at the time, 
and this might make one suspicious, but on the other hand if the intent 
was to discriminate against Mr. Taylor, it is probable that he would 
have been rejected at the point of the conclusion of the Interview 
and never even been put on "hold". 

Mr. Taylor testified he called Hydro about ten days after the 
interview to dotormine whether he was accepted or not, received the 


impression that he had been accented and would be receiving medical forms 
shortly. He did receive such forms, went to his physician for the 
necessary medical evaluation and the forms were completed and returned 
to Hydro by the physician. 

Mr. Taylor's next communication with Hydro was the letter of 
rejection of October 20, 1976 ( Exhibit No. 16). He then telephoned 
Hydro, and was told that it was corporate policy not to give reasons 
for rejection of an application. 

Unfortunately, thinking he had been accepted for employment 
with Hydro, Mr. Taylor withdrew from the engineering course he had 
enrolled in at Lakehead University. Hydro had no knowledge that Mr. 
Taylor had the opportunity of pursuing a university education or that 
there was any urgency to deciding upon his application for employment 
with Hydro for this reason, as Mr. Taylor did not tell Hydro anything 
at a 1 1 about his possible university career. 

Mr. Taylor then found employment with a towing firm, was 
unemployed for a while, and found steady employment in February, 1978, 
with a company utilizing his mechanical trade and background. 

Mr. Taylor claimed as special damages the difference in what 
he would have earned in salary and fringe benefits at Hydro and what 
he received with the towing business employer, his expenses in looking 
for work elsewhere when rejected by Hydro, his wasted expense in 
travelling once to Lakehead University, his lost downpayment on an 
apartment in Thunder Bay, interest on these items, and general damages 
for humiliation (see Exhibit No. 18). 






There was no suggestion 'n the criteria employed by Ontario 

Hydro (see Exhibit No. 19 - Staffing - Policy Statements) in the 
recruitment of nuclear shift mechanical maintainers of any intent to 
discriminate on the basis of colour, race, ancestry or place of origin. 
On the contrary, the evidence suggested that the recruitment process 
is comprehensive, systematic, and fair. Moreover, both I^r. Grice and 
Mr. Donnelly impressed me as conscientious, competent, and fair interviewers 
who do a very good job. This seems borne out by the success of the 
recruitment program and the almost nil attrition rate. I have no doubt, 
considering all the evidence, in concluding that neither of them 
discriminated against Mr. Taylor because of his race, colour, ancestry, 
or place of origin. Indeed, considering all the evidence, I think 
they treated Mr. Taylor objectively, fairly, and with a great deal of 
both cons i derareness and consideration (see also Exhibit Nos. 23 and 24). 

I have no doubt, considering all The evidence, that Mr. Grice 
and Mr. Donnelly, and Ontario Hydro, were trying to mai<e decisions 
solely on the merits as to who should be hired for nuclear Industrial 
mechanic positions at the times relevant to this Inquiry, and that the 
assessment of Mr. Taylor specifically as an applicant was done solely 
on the merits, with fairness, and without any discrimination because of 
Mr. Taylor's race, colour, ancestry, or place of origin. 

For the reasons discussed, the Complaint is dismissed. 

DATED at Toronto this 22nd day of June, 1981 


Peter A. Gumming 
Board of Inquiry